The top communications official at the Health and Human Services Department has apologized for his bizarre Facebook live session where he claimed that political opponents ‘are going to have to kill me’ and that Democrats are plotting an armed insurrection.
Michael Caputo, a former Trump campaign official, apologized in an emergency staff meeting where he also indicated he might soon be leaving the agency, Politico reported.
He ended the meeting by encouraging his staff to listen to Grateful Dead music.
Michael Caputo, the top communications official at the Health and Human Services Department, has apologized for his bizarre Facebook live session
Caputo called an emergency staff meeting to apologize and ended it by encouraging staff to listen to the Grateful Dead
Caputo’s bizarre Facebook Live session came after the publication of a Politico story Friday that indicated Caputo and other political appointees were pressuring Centers for Disease Control officials to alter weekly coronavirus reports.
‘You understand that they’re going to have to kill me, and unfortunately, I think that’s where this is going,’ he said, the New York Times reported on his Facebook live post.
Caputo told staffers his behavior online was a combination of physical health issues and the stress of fielding death threats against his family.
He disputed talk about his mental health – saying that some of his comments have been taken out of context.
He’s scheduled to meet with HHS Secretary Alex Azar on Tuesday and President Donald Trump, who is close to Caputo, is expected to be involved in any decisions about his future employment.
Caputo is close with President Trump, who is expected to be involved in any decision about his future employment
‘If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get,’ warned Health and Human Services communications advisor Michael Caputo in his Facebook Live rant
Several Democrats called for his resignation in the wake of the Facebook Live session.
‘And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,’ Caputo said in it. ‘The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.’
Said Caputo: ‘If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.’
During his rant posted Sunday, Caputo said his ‘mental health has definitely failed.’
‘I don’t like being alone in Washington,’ he continued. He said there were ‘shadows on the ceiling in my apartment, there alone, shadows are so long.’
He also blasted government scientists ‘deep in the bowels of the CDC have given up science and become political animals’ who he said ‘haven’t gotten out of their sweatpants except for meetings at coffee shops.’
Caputo is a protege of Donald Trump advisor Roger Stone
He said the officials ”walk around like they are monks’ but in fact practice ‘rotten science.’
Caputo is an associate of longtime informal Trump advisor Roger Stone – who provided his own violent imagery about what could be in store during an experience on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show.
Stone said Trump should consider imposing ‘marshal law’ or invoke the Insurrection Act should results show he lost the election.
Stone, who had his jail sentence commuted by Trump, said ‘the ballots in Nevada on election night should be seized by federal marshals and taken from the state.’
He said the ballots ‘are completely corrupted’ and claimed: ‘we can prove voter fraud in the absentees right now.’
Caputo, 58, was appointed to his post by Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar in mid-April. It was cast at the time as a move by the White House to assert control over Azar’s agency.
‘I’m delighted to have Michael Caputo join our team at @HHSGov as our Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, especially at this critical time in our nation’s public health history,’ Azar tweeted at the time he was named Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs.
Caputo’s comments come after Trump said this past weekend he will ‘negotiate’ for a third term if he wins the election.
Caputo was an advisor to the Trump campaign, lived in Russia in the 1990s and advised state energy company Gazprom. He was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, and was featured briefly in his report as having learned through a Florida-based Russian business partner about another Florida-based Russian who ‘claimed to have information pertaining to Hilary Clinton.’
‘Caputo notified Roger Stone and brokered communication’ that helped set up a May 2016 meeting, according to the report.
Caputo told the Times Monday, “Since joining the administration my family and I have been continually threatened.’ He continued: “This weighs heavily on us, and we deeply appreciate the friendship and support of President Trump as we address these matters and keep our children safe.”
HHS said in a statement: ‘Mr. Caputo is a critical, integral part of the president’s coronavirus response, leading on public messaging as Americans need public health information to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic.’
Caputo’s rant came on a weekend after it was reported he has been interfering with COVID-19 reports by health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because their data doesn’t match the ‘optimistic messages’ sought by the White House.
In one instance, CDC Director Robert Redfield and his scientists were accused of trying to ‘hurt the president’ with their reports about COVID-19, according to POLITICO.
The reported interference was learned a day after it was revealed that the same group of Trump loyalists were seeking to muzzle Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.
Since being named spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, Michael Caputo, the Republican Party operative and former Trump campaign official, and his staff have pressured CDC personnel to alter the wording of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report has usually been published without any political interference and is a key method by which the CDC advises doctors and the general public about COVID-19. Caputo has no medical background.
Since then, he and his team have tried to stop the CDC from releasing some of its findings that do not line up with messaging from Trump, POLITICO is reporting.
Caputo and his staffers reportedly tried to retroactively change agency reports which they claimed inflated the risks of COVID-19.
The political appointees reportedly sought to make clear in the reports that American who became infected with the virus did so due to their own behavior, according to POLITICO.